Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, barisan nasional, BN, dato onn jaafar, fat bidin, journalism, kuala lumpur, malay, malaysia, racism, racist, saiffuddin abdullah, The Malaysian Insider, tunku, tunku abdul rahman, umno, zan azlee
My colleague, Dzulfitri Yusop, a fellow journalist, asked me yesterday if I could make one positive statement about Umno or name one positive member of Umno.
I laughed. Too many people like to assume that I am anti-establishment just for the sake of being anti-establishment all of the time without being rational.
So I thought really hard to come up with a positive statement to show that I was not one of those ABU (Asalkan Bukan Umno, or Anything But Umno) people. We have to always keep an open mind, right?
Quite some time passed by and I still could not think of anything positive to say about the party aside from it being formed in my home state of Johor.
All jokes aside, I do know that Umno was formed with the best intentions in mind to help the Malays have political and authoritative powers in Malaya (and later Malaysia).
It was a party that was meant to protect the rights of the Malays and be a voice for them so that they will not be oppressed. Quite noble, I agree.
But the very fact that it was to protect a particular race makes it, in my opinion, totally unsuitable to be a political party because no one country consists of only one race. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: Astro Awani, internet, journalism, new media, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, astro, awani, barisan nasional, BN, culture, fat bidin, hang jebat, hang li po, hang tuah, history, journalism, malacca, malay, malaysia, melaka, melaka river, melaka river cruise, parameswara, sungai melaka, unesco, zan azlee
I have fallen into the trap. The trap of going on family vacations during public and school holidays. So is my luck now that I am married and with a daughter. And so, last weekend, the long three-day Malaysia Day weekend, my wife, daughter and I decided to head down to Melaka, Malaysia’s historical and heritage city certified and endorsed by UNESCO.
It’s not much the holiday that I want to talk about. That was overall a fun and enjoyable time my family and I had. What I do want to talk about is a little bit more political. Any holiday to Melaka city needs a ride on the famous Melaka River Cruise. It’s a 45 minute boat ride up and down the Melaka River, which saw the glory days and also the downfall of Malay civilisation.
The boat ride was pretty good actually. But then, the audio commentary guide that played over the speakers on the boat explaining the ride was horrible! Being a UNESCO heritage city that is rich in history and culture that dates back centuries, I was really expecting to hear (and then imagine!) the different stories that is related to the Melaka River.
I wanted to hear grand stories of old Malay adventurers, Chinese explorers and Arab traders making their way to this great river mouth to the grandest East Asian city of the 14th century. I wanted to hear about the bloody and deadly battles that took place between the Dutch, Portuguese, British and Malays as they tried to conquer, colonise and defend this mighty empire.
I wanted to be serenaded by romantic stories about Parameswara, Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, and the beautiful Hang Li Po as the wind blew my long silky hair and sprays of water moisturised my face. But did I get that? Absolutely not! [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]
Filed under: Astro Awani, broadcast, directing, documentary, internet, journalism, new media, video blog, writing | Tags: astro, astro awani, awani, cambodia, documentary, fat bidin, in focus, journalism, phnom penh, poverty, solo journalism, street children, street kids, urban poor, zan azlee
Cambodia is most notoriously known for the 1970s violently oppressive Khmer Rouge regime led by Pol Pot. In more recent times, it has seen quite a tremendous economic growth within the Southeast Asian region. However, one of the most jarring problems the country faces is the large disparity between the rich and the poor, and one can notice it most when it comes to the children.
In the early 1980s, a huge undocumented number of street children roamed the city and even rural centres trying to survive by either begging, collecting garbage or doing odd jobs. This was mainly blamed on the Khmer Rouge’s deadly tactics of killing enemies of the states, thus living many children guardian-less.
In 2013, a huge undocumented number of street children still roam the city and even rural areas trying to survive doing the exact same things. The difference is, these children have parents and families. They do it to support their poverty-stricken families.
To find out more about Cambodia’s urban poor children, tune in to ‘In Focus’ tonight, Tuesday (17th September 2013), at 8:30pm.
*Catch the new season of In Focus every Tuesdays, 8:30pm, on Astro AWANI.
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, barisan nasional, BN, bumiputera, fat bidin, journalism, kuala lumpur, malay, malaysia, najib razak, new media, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
The Bumiputeras of Malaysia. The princes of the land. The race that has the ruling blood flowing through it’s veins. The rightful owner of Malaysia. Or so they say.
Before I continue, let me declare that although I know that the term Bumiputera also defines those of the indigenous ethnicities in Malaysia, I am specifically only refering to the Malays in this article.
For the sake of harmony and equality, affirmative action was put in place in the state system so that the Malays could prosper along with the other races in Malaysia.
They were given all kinds of handouts such as land, property, university quotas, corporate quotas and even literally cash (as in the case of Bumiputera handouts).
The objective was to give an advantage to the lagging Malays so they could then compete on an equal level with the rest of Malaysia.
It’s like a handicap in the sport of golf. Someone who isn’t as good would have a higher handicap so he or she could compete on an equal footing with someone better and who have a lower handicap.
The objective of this affirmative action was to provide the Malays with the essential confidence and know-how to finally compete on equal footing.
Like in the sport of golf, the main objective of a player is to finally turn professional and not have a handicap at all. That is when you know you are at par with the best.
Now that the country is turning 50 years old, one would wonder how strange it is that this Bumiputera affirmative action plan is still in place. You mean after 50 years, the Malays still need a handicap?
I guess they have gotten accustomed to all the handouts that they are now spoilt and cannot survive without these handouts to help them along.
But what else is new in what I am saying? People have been harping on this matter for many years and still nothing is being done about it.
The Malays feel like they deserve the sky and the moon, while the other races in Malaysia feel neglected and bertrayed in their own country.
You would think that after 50 years have gone by, the Malays, or even Malaysia as a whole, would have progressed and moved on.
But no. The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has just declared that to take the place of the old affirmative action bible, he will announce new policies that aims to further help Bumiputeras. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: Astro Awani, internet, journalism, writing | Tags: ang swee poh, astro, astro awani, awani, death, fat bidin, funeral, grandmother, journalism, wan, zan azlee
Last Monday I lost my grandmother to that deadly plague called death. It was my first real experience losing someone really close to me.
My other three grandparents died when I was very young and all I remember are bits and pieces of the funerals of my two grandfathers and nothing of my paternal grandmother.
So excuse me this week if my column turns out to be a little bit self-indulgent. But hey, every writer will end up writing about his or her grandmother at least once (it ain’t cliched, it’s sweet!).
My grandmother was the one who thought me how to speak Cantonese. Apparently, as I was told, I could actually speak it fluently when I was very young.
I can’t really remember if it’s true or not, but now, my conversations in Cantonese are just fodder for my friends and colleagues to secretly record and upload to Instagram so they can have a laugh!
Once, I even got angry and screamed at a bank teller for calling me ‘hakchai’ which actually means ‘customer’ because I had mistakenly thought it meant ‘dark kid’! I’m never going into that bank again!
For those of you who don’t get the joke, go ask a Chinese to explain it to you. Then be friends with him or her and help foster better race relations in a time when the country really needs it. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, barisan nasional, BN, fat bidin, jalur gemilang, journalism, kuala lumpur, malay, malaysia, media, new media, news, shabery cheek, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
I’ve met Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek on countless occasions. Usually it’s to interview him, but there were times when we just had a drink or meal to chat.
I honestly think he’s a very nice person and many of the things he does in his capacity as a member of the cabinet and a politician have good intentions.
Being the Minister of Communication and Multimedia (of which he has held the portfolio once before), I’m sure he is familiar with how the media and public perception works. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: Astro Awani, internet, journalism, new media, writing | Tags: 13 may, 13 may 1969, 1malaysia, astro, astro awani, awani, barisan nasional, BN, fat bidin, film, journalism, kuala lumpur, malay, malaysia, media, new media, news, riot, shuhaimi baba, tanda putera, tun abdul razak, tun dr ismail, tunku abdul rahman, zan azlee
Tanda Putera is a film that is hot on the lips of so many Malaysians. And so, as someone who writes for the Malaysian public, I feel obliged to write a review of it.
A film is a film, whether it is a non-fiction documentary, docudrama or even narrative fiction. And each genre has it’s methods and style.
A documentary, being non-fiction, would have to keep to the spirit of truth and honesty. It has to strive to be an exact representation of what really happened.
For a fiction film, as the word fiction would describe it, is something that is created and made up. Hence, truth and reality does not have be a tenet in a fiction film.
For a film like Tanda Putera, the lines are blurry. It is supposed to be based on a true story. But as the director Shuhaimi Baba stated, there were parts that were dramatised and fictionalised.
Fair enough. A film director working on a fictionalised story based on something that really happened reserves the right of creative licensing.
It is, after all, a subjective interpretation by the film director. And when it is a subjective interpretation, then there is no wrong in the film being biased or opinionated.
This happens a lot and is accepted by most audiences. Take for example films like Adman Salleh’s Paloh, Aziz M. Osman’s Leftenan Adnan, Liew Seng Tat’s Flower or even Oliver Stone’s JFK.
So, what’s the big deal, right? Well, the big deal happens when a society is not mature enough to see how art (no matter how bad or good it is) is just art. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, barisan nasional, BN, fat bidin, hindu, indian, islam, j anu, journalism, kuala lumpur, malay, malaysia, media, merdeka, mosque, muslim, new media, tanda putera, zan azlee
It’s that time of the year again when all of the media gears their content towards that one national theme – Merdeka Day. How cliched, but somehow necessary. And so I find myself obligated to write somethhing alng the lines of the Merdeka theme as well. But I’ll try to keep things as current and as relevant as possible.
What does merdeka really mean, anyway? It’s suppose to mean independence or freedom. And an independence country means a country that is sovereign. An independent country is also one that is not controlled by anyone and is free to do as it pleases depending on what is right or wrong. It is the freedom to make a choice.
So what does it mean when in an independent country where there is suppose to be freedom of choice, big brother makes that choice for the people? It means that there really is no independence.
Recently, the Penang state government decided that they would disallow the screening of the controversial film about the May 13th 1969 riots, Tanda Putera, in the state. Okay, fine! Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng clarifies by saying that they are just issuing a cautionary advisory against watching the film. Whatever lah. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: Astro Awani, internet, journalism, new media, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, architect, architecture, barisan nasional, BN, buddhist, chinese, christian, fat bidin, hindu, indian, islam, journalism, kuala lumpur, malay, malaysia, masjid, masjid negara, media, merdeka, mosque, muslim, new media, zan azlee
Malaysia has gone to the dogs. But that would be such a negative statement for a column that has the intentions of commerating this year’s Merdeka Day. So I’m going to try my best to end it in a positive note. First of all, we can agree that racial issues have become a trend in Malaysia. Every racial group has a problem with every other racial group.
Polarisation among the people seem to be at it’s highest peak. This is happening in schools, universities, the private working sector, and of course, the public sector. Religious conflict, although thankfully not violent, is also on the rise and taking centre stage in our media. So Malaysia is truly going to the dogs.
Now let me slightly digress to see if I can further make the point that I am trying to make. Every Malaysian is familiar with the National Mosque, or Masjid Negara, in Kuala Lumpur. Conceptualised a month before Merdeka, completed and opened in 1965, it is a symbol of how Malaysia was, and how Malaysia should be now and forever.
Designed and built by a Brit and two Malaysians (Howard Ashley, Hisham Albakri and Baharuddin Kassim), that in itself would already be unheard of now. What?!? They let a non-Muslim design a mosque?!? Astarghfirullah! [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, barisan nasional, BN, fat bidin, journalism, malaysia, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
When an elected minister or politician says or does something that doesn’t make sense or is not becoming of a leader, who is to blame? Many would say that the minister or politician would be to blame since he or she is the one saying or doing the action. But now how valid is that?
So every member of the public would know them, their demeanour, personality and how they would react in different situations. In fact, it’s much easier than that, to tell you the truth.
Most of them have sheep mentality and just do whatever a member of their particular party is supposed to do. No one really is allowed to think for themselves.
Party comes first. And you really will know what to expect already. So don’t pretend to be surprised when you see them do or say something shocking.
When the public votes for them, they already know who and what they are voting for. So, by this we can make a very simple deduction that it really is the fault of the voters. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: Astro Awani, internet, journalism, new media, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, astro, astro awani, awani, barisan nasional, BN, fat bidin, journalism, malay, malaysia, media, muslim, new media, news, ridhuan tee, zan azlee
I cherish every opportunity I get to discredit, counter, disprove, disagree and slam our great Associate Professor Dr. Ridhuan Tee Abdullah. And so I am thankful for every time the good doctor produces an article that reflects his thoughts and tickles my fancy, just like his most recent writing in Utusan Malaysia.
His recent column in the newspaper dated 16th August 2013 was actually on something that I would really not have any beef with. It wasn’t really hard-hitting or ground-breaking at all. The good doctor criticised Singapore’s former Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew’s, latest book, One Man’s View of the World.
More specifically, he criticised Lee Kuan Yew’s criticism of Malaysia’s affirmative action for Malays, and that it is driving local talent away from the country. Although I do have a problem with affirmative action in this country (as I have stated many times in my many writings), I don’t have a problem with the good doctor’s rant about it. It’s his right to say so, anyway.
How does that saying go again? ‘I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’, right? I think it was said by someone named Voltaire. But when the good doctor starts harping on about going to war with another country, now that’s where I have to stop calling him the good doctor anymore. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, alvivi, barisan nasional, BN, fat bidin, islam, journalism, malay, malaysia, media, muslim, new media, news, racism, racist, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
It seems that one of the big discussions amongst Malaysians at the moment is if we are actually getting too sensitive. This is because of the “offence” that we have been taking over all kinds of issues.
First of all, there was the Alvivi case where this idiotic Chinese couple took a picture of themselves eating bak kut teh which they spread online and offended the Malays in the country.
After that, an owner of a private resort allowed a group of Buddhists to meditate in a room which was also allocated as a surau. And this offended the Malays in the country.
At a first glance, I can see the reason why many people are starting to think that Malaysians are actually getting too sensitive for their own good.
But at a second glance, I think I’m beginning to see a trend here. Can you see it? It seems like those who constantly get offended happen to be Malays. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: Astro Awani, internet, journalism, new media, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, barisan nasional, blasphemy, BN, fat bidin, islam, journalism, malay, malaysia, media, muhammad. prophet, muslim, new media, quran, zan azlee
So I’ve been threatened and warned to watch my back because I tend to question issues regarding Islam. And guess who are the ones threatening me? My fellow Muslims, of course! Apparently, only those with immense religious knowledge and high paper qualifications are allowed to delve deeper into the religion, and the rest of us should just shut up and listen.
I think I shall choose not to listen to these people because I strongly believe that they are wrong. Islam is pretty cool actually, and I don’t believe that it would preach such a thing. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, air nira, alcohol, allah, arak, barisan nasional, BN, fat bidin, halal, haram, islam, jakim, journalism, malay, malaysia, muslim, new media, perkasa, tapai, The Malaysian Insider, umno, zan azlee
First and foremost, I would like to wish you assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh and a blessed Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri. I would like to apologise for writing this letter during the festive season when most of you would be on leave with your families.
However, I strongly believe that the reason that I am writing is justified and commands your immediate attention. If nothing is done, I am fearful that the faith and aqidah of many Malay Muslims in Malaysia may be at risk.
On the second last day of Ramadhan, my family and I decided to head out and enjoy iftar (I loathe using the term ‘buka puasa’ it is so un-Islamic!) together at a very prominent hotel in Shah Alam, Selangor. The hotel is called Concorde.
We were very impressed with the buffet spread that was on display in the hotel’s coffee house and felt that the extremely expensive price was justified. So, in other words, we were happy to have good food and good company that evening.
However, as I was walking around the different food islands in the centre of the coffee house, I came to the dessert island. And what I saw horrified me to my wits end! I could not believe my eyes! There in open display was a plate full of tapai!
Now correct me if I’m wrong. JAKIM has issued a statement declaring that for any dish or drink to be considered halal, it needs to have less than 0.01% alcohol content. This practically means that there has to be zero alcohol content.
Tapai, as we all know, is a traditional Malay kuih that is prepared by fermenting pulut or ubi kayu. But, as we all also know, when you ferment food stuff, it turns into alcohol. Yes! I said alcohol! Haram jaddah! [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: Astro Awani, internet, journalism, new media, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, aidilfitri, allah, astro, astro awani, awani, barisan nasional, BN, chinese, cina, fat bidin, hari raya, islam, journalism, malay, malaysia, muslim, race, racist, religion
“Hoi! Berdosa lah kalau kau sambut Tahun Baru Cina!”
“Ha’ah! Nanti masuk Neraka!”
“Eiii!! Duit ang pow to haram tau!”
“Kau ni kafir lah!”
These are some of the responses I received from my Malay classmates when I was in primary school back in Johor Bahru a gazillion years ago. I was confused. I had grown up celebrating Chinese New Year every year with my family. I enjoyed collecting ang pows and also playing fireworks.
And the food! Oh my god! The food during the new year was amazing! The kuih kapit Cina container would be under my armpit the whole day. On the morning of the first day, my Aunty Poh Poh Swee Lan would make the best fatt choy in the world (it’s a vegetarian dish… before you all start calling JAKIM on me!)!
Chinese New Year in my family is a pretty unique affair. At least four different languages would be spoken at any one time and the colour of our skin… well, who cares! These are people dear to my heart and celebrating with them is something I treasure. And it made me totally confused when these kids would say such things to me.
I’m glad I wasn’t offended. If it’s one thing I learned early in life is to feel pity for those who are more ignorant than me, rather than to feel anger. What can we do if they have pea-sized brains, right?
This doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri as well. I would wake up early and follow my father and my two brothers to the mosque on the first day. And when we got home, a huge spread consisting of Laksa Johor, lontong and rendang (of which my Poh Poh Swee Poh was the goddess creator!) would be waiting on the dining table for us. Heaven after a month of fasting!
And then all the relatives would start arriving at our house. It would begin as a trickle at first, but would end in a huge tsunami wave! And the atmosphere would be exactly the same as Chinese New Year. At least four different languages would be spoken at any one time and the colour of our skin… well, who cares!
In my birth certificate, I am stated as being a Malay. But sometimes, I wonder how that conclusion could have been made since I have Chinese blood. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, barisan nasional, BN, fat bidin, islam, journalism, Keadilan, kuala lumpur, malay, malaysia, media, muslim, new media, news, The Malaysian Insider, umno, zan azlee
In just a matter of approximately a month, we Malaysians have been flooded with all kinds of propaganda that seems to be threatening our racial harmony. First, there was the stupid, moronic, idiotic and imbecilic couple Alvivi and their Bak Kut Teh spirited Ramadhan wish to all Malaysians.
Now, we have this harmless video of a Muslim woman who made a video (three years ago, mind you) with herself and her dogs wishing people Selamat Hari Raya.
Now for this third one, it gets a little bit tricky. Many say its insulting to Islam. I, however, do not think so since there is nothing stated anyway in the religious books that say dogs are un-Islamic (but I’m a dog-lover, so sue me).
I could not care less about whether Islam is being insulted, if there is a big racist plot to bring down all the non-Malays in the country, or if the fork ran away with the spoon. What bothers me is the fact that on Facebook timeline (yes, the world has come down to this – when an entire societal situation can be extrapolated from FB!), things are not rosy.
My timeline has been divided into two distinct sides – those who are on one side, and those who are on the other. And it pains me to see this happening. With all these stories coming out in the media, there has never been a larger rift in Malaysia than I can ever remember in my entire 35 years of being alive.
I cannot help but wonder if all these are just part of an elaborate media strategy with an aim to create dischord and disharmony amongst Malaysian… for selfish reasons. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: Astro Awani, internet, journalism, new media, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, anjing, barisan nasional, BN, chetz, dog, fat bidin, haram, islam, journalism, kuala lumpur, malay, malaysia, media, muslim, najis, new media, news, samak, togom, zan azlee
About seven years ago, I was elevated to the position of ‘ustaz’ by members of the Malaysian public. All because of a short film I had made at that time called ‘Samak’ (which was invited to a few film festivals! Wahh!)
It was a simple documentary about dogs and how it is okay for Muslims to keep them as pets. But what made it so appealing to people, I think, was the explanation on ‘samak’.
So what is ‘samak’? It’s just the method of cleansing for a Muslim after he or she has touched a wet dog. And it’s only when the dog is wet. When it’s dry, it’s totally clean.
I literally got phone calls from people I didn’t know calling me ‘ustaz’ and asking me for advice on how to samak themselves, and even their homes (paranoia?).
I am a Muslim and a dog lover. And I have also had the pleasure of caring for two pet dogs in my lifetime so far – a Rottweiler named Martian and a Cavalier King Charles named Keropok.
Now, in response to all the hoo-haa about dogs and Hari Raya, I feel totally at ease and not the least bit insulted by the video of Chetz Togom and her dogs. [Click to read the full article and to view the short film at English.AstroAwani.Com]
Filed under: Astro Awani, broadcast, directing, documentary, film, internet, journalism, new media, video blog, writing | Tags: 501 awani, art fazil, astro, astro awani, awani, censorship, documentary, fat bidin, film, freedom of expression, freedom of speech, in focus, interview, journalism, martyn see, mas riddim, media, mr brown, new media, singapore, singapore rebel, solo journalism, video journalism, web video, zan azlee
Tonight’s ‘In Focus‘ documentary episode takes a look at how Singapore, a country so representative of first world development is also one that is notorious for media censorship and also curbing freedom of speech. I hang out with a couple of artists (Art Fazil, Martyn See, Lee Kim Min aka Mr. Brown) on the island to understand better their situation.
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, eat, fasting, fat bidin, food, islam, journalism, makan, malay, malaysia, puasa, ramadan, ramadhan, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
It gave me the shock of my life when I found out about it. It was posted all over the Internet. A bunch of Malay-looking (and hence, presumably) Muslims were all sitting huddled over a drain in a back alley. They were gobbling up food like they were desperately hungry.
Some were having rice, some were eating wanton soup, and some, even instant noodles. I felt it was disgraceful and inhumane that they were forced to eat in such a decrepit environment that not even animals deserved.
The public, of course, were outraged! And they really made it known through social media. Out of all places, how could they be forced to eat by a drain in a back alley! And of course, when something gets so public, politicians started to get into the fray as well, condemning what they saw being posted and reposted on the Internet. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]